San Jose Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon is facing almost certain suspension by Major League Soccer (MLS) after television cameras caught him making a homophobic comment to an opponent.
Gordon made the comment to Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson in Sunday’s game and MLS is looking into the incident, a league spokesman said.
“I sincerely apologize for what I said in our game tonight. Although I said it in the heat of the moment, that language has no place in our game,” Gordon said in a statement issued through his club following Portland’s 1-0 win.
“That is not my character, but there is still no excuse for saying what I said. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
MLS has taken a hard line against homophobic language on the field with a ’zero tolerance’ stance.
Last season, Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was banned three games for making insulting comments to a ball boy.
Seattle Sounders defender March Burch was also given a three game suspension last season for a gay slur, coincidentally also aimed at Johnson, who was then with Real Salt Lake.
If suspended, Gordon’s ban could be longer than three games given that he was also sent off in the 69th minute of Sunday’s game after an elbow to the face of Timbers’ French defender Mikael Silvestre.
The target of Gordon’s comment, Johnson, had the last laugh by scoring the 78th minute winner with a well-taken free kick.
The issue of homophobia in sport has become a central issue in the United States where there are currently no openly gay players in any of the five major professional leagues.
Former MLS player Robbie Rogers recently came out as gay but said he was taking a break from the game after spells with clubs in England.